AFC South: David Garard

Jones-Drew on Garrard, Ayers and more

September, 7, 2011
9/07/11
3:25
PM ET
Some highlights of Maurice Jones-Drew's conference call with the Tennessee media.
  • He said he’s only text messaged with David Garrard since learning Tuesday that the Jaguars released him. “Yesterday was a very sad day,” Jones-Drew said. “I think it kind of hit everybody. He’s a great guy, he’s always done right by us. We kind of gave him his space… His impact on this organization was huge. It’s a tough decision. They made it.”
  • He touted fellow UCLA Bruin Akeem Ayers and said while the Titans are bigger, they’ve always been a tough-minded defense that was hard to play against. “UCLA didn’t have much but him, so he did a lot,” Jones-Drew said. “We’re studying the way he pass rushes. He’s a great tackler, a big hitter, very fast, strong. So he has all the tools.”
  • Jones-Drew weighs about 205, down from a playing weight of 215 or 217 last season.
  • Asked about the idea that Wayne Weaver is playing it cheap with over $30 million in free salary cap room, he said: “I don’t know about cheap. I wouldn’t say that. He obviously made me one of the highest paid running backs at the time, so I wouldn’t say that was cheap at all. I think they’re just very smart … we’ve got a solid team that we think we can win with … and we are going to win with.”
  • On making difficult decisions: “It’s tough, I’m a decision-maker on Madden and in fantasy football and it’s tough to do that stuff, but you’ve got to pull the plug sometimes.”
  • He was complimentary of new Titans middle linebacker Barrett Ruud, but said he’s biased about former middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch. “I’m a little biased when it comes to shorter people. I’d say Tulloch was one of the better middle linebacker in the league. I’m pretty happy they got rid of him because he was one of the only guys I knew that got lower than me and then hit me under the chin. But Barrett Ruud's a very smart guy, very aggressive at the point of attack. We know he’s going to study us and study our tendencies, and get those guys in the right place to be successful. He brings a totally different mentality to that defense we haven’t seen, we haven’t seen a linebacker like that. It’s going to be a great challenge."
  • By his self-imposed fantasy football rules, he does not play guys who are playing against the Jaguars. But his fantasy team includes Matt Hasselbeck, Kenny Britt and Colts receiver Austin Collie.

On Clayton's QB rankings

August, 31, 2011
8/31/11
4:42
PM ET
John Clayton’s annual preseason quarterback rankings always stir up good debate.

He puts both Peyton Manning and Matt Schaub among his elite 13. He spells out what's elite in his eyes and it is sensible.

I think that’s an awfully big group, however. Tier two is called the “Chad Pennington Division.” There is a lot of room between elite and Chad Pennington at his best. So I wish these guys were divided into four categories instead of just three.

Here are Clayton's thoughts on the quarterbacks of the AFC South who could play on opening day, with comment from me too.

THE ELITE

3. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts

Clayton: The signing of Kerry Collins with the Colts is a little unnerving because it means Manning might miss regular-season time after 208 consecutive starts while waiting for nerves in his neck to heal from offseason surgery. The Colts gave him a five-year, $90 million contract -- they know Manning will play. They just don't know when.

Arrow is pointing: flat

Kuharsky: Way too many people writing him off. Even if he missed a bunch of games, once he’s back why would we presume he won’t be great again.

12. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

Clayton: I don't know if Schaub can do more. He's thrown for 9,140 yards and 53 touchdowns the past two seasons, but that hasn't been good enough to get the Texans to the playoffs. In fact, they ended up 6-10 last season. He needs some help from his defensive friends.

Arrow is pointing: flat

Kuharsky: Agree with that assessment. He could stand a bit taller at crucial moments. Last season he had some lousy luck, but also some lousy clutch play.

CHAD PENNINGTON DIVISION

22. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars

Clayton: Garrard never has really received credit for how well he has played at times in Jacksonville. He has a respectable 57.3 QBR, but after this season, he's DFA, designated for assignment. Blaine Gabbert will either get a chance to start this year or will be the starting quarterback next year.

Arrow is pointing: down

Kuharsky: If Garrard starts slowly, he will accelerate his ending in Jacksonville. The pressure is big and I am not certain it will bring out his best.

24. Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans

Clayton: Despite last year's playoff victory over the Saints, the Seahawks decided to cut ties with Hasselbeck and let him move on to Tennessee, where he's the bridge to Jake Locker. Hasselbeck's been banged up in recent years in Seattle, but he goes to a team with a good offensive line and a nice running game.

Arrow is pointing: up

Kuharsky: A significant upgrade. That may say more about who he’s replacing, but the leadership, reliability and accountability are major ingredients for a team that lacked both with Vince Young.

HIT OR MISS DIVISION

29. Kerry Collins, Indianapolis Colts

Clayton: Am I missing something? Wasn't Collins offered the chance to be the Titans' quarterback and take the Matt Hasselbeck job of grooming Jake Locker? Now, he's in Indianapolis filling in for Peyton Manning. All of the sudden the AFC South has become the care-takers division for quarterbacks.

Arrow is pointing: flat

Kuharsky: No, Collins retired during the lockout and the Titans always preferred Hasselbeck. Collins is an upgrade backing up Manning, but the offensive line and running game better produce for him if and when he plays, or there will be problems.

Rank them all yourself, here.

What I think they are thinking

November, 15, 2010
11/15/10
2:45
PM ET
What I think they are thinking in the headquarters of the four AFC South teams Monday…

Houston Texans

Seriously? We deserved at least overtime, didn’t we? Even if we chalk up Jacksonville’s Hail Mary to luck -- and there is a big degree of it in any of those situations that work -- we simply cannot give the Jaguars the ball in that situation. Had Joel Dreessen not fumbled on the second-to-last play of the game, we might be sorting out a clock mess and a failure to get off a field-goal attempt. But at least we’d have had our shot in overtime. Three losses in a row. A 4-5 record. At least two teams to climb to get into wild-card contention. A very tough upcoming schedule. We might be toast.

Indianapolis Colts

We’re stuck together with rubber bands and duct tape, it feels like. And we managed an early surge and five takeaways in a win against Cincinnati. That was enough for us to get a win against a bad team and look ahead to a huge road trip. We’re 6-3 with all our injuries and have a chance to go to New England and pull even with the Patriots. Nobody’s going to like our chances, so we can take an us-against-the-world approach. If we can get a couple guys back from injury and have our top linebackers and running backs available, we’ll happily take our chances with the scenario.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Hey, we got a big break. But Mike Thomas knew where he was and what he was doing, too, and we’re going to revel in a big moment. Houston was the darling pick to make a charge to the playoffs while everyone was still joking about blackouts in North Florida and talking about how we passed on Tim Tebow. Well guess what? We just beat those Texans and we’re even with the Titans at 5-4 (thought we lost head-to-head), only a game behind the Colts. We’ll scrap. We’re getting good play from David Garrard. Maurice Jones-Drew looked refreshed. Terrance Knighton showed some leadership in our first game without Aaron Kampman. Don’t sleep on us.

Tennessee Titans

We should have done more to temper the expectations on Randy Moss. Yes, we missed him two or three times when there was big-play potential. But this is a receiver, not a quarterback or running back. He’s not starting out with the ball in his hands. Our quarterbacks were lousy, and we’ll face questions about Vince Young’s toughness considering he didn’t insist on starting, but ran around just fine when he was inserted to replace the injured Kerry Collins. We lost to a third-string quarterback, we gave up back-to-back big gains on the same Wildcat play, we are 2-4 in the AFC. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
Some bullet-point thoughts on the Jaguars’ 19-13 preseason win at Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

Impressive:
  • Josh Scobee hit on four of four field-goal tries – from 35, 43, 26 and 48 yards.
  • John Matthews made a wonderful 27-yard diving touchdown catch of a well-placed Luke McCown pass.
  • The third-down defense allowed the Buccaneers to convert just twice in 11 attempts.
  • The Jaguars held the ball for 39 minutes.
  • Scotty McGee had an electric 47-yard kickoff return to open the game.
Unimpressive:
  • Jacksonville was 0-for-4 in the red zone, an area that still needs major work. David Garrard threw an interception to Barrett Ruud at the goal line.
  • Garrard’s longest pass play was 26 yards (and that was his first pass, to Marcedes Lewis), McCown’s was 27 (the touchdown to Matthews) and the long run was 18 yards by Mike Thomas, a receiver.
  • Nine penalties for 62 yards.
  • When Derek Cox fell down and allowed a long pass from Josh Johnson to Mike Williams up the right side, Reggie Nelson was next on the scene. He failed to slow Williams and looked lackadaisical in pursuit from there.
Reading the coverage…

Houston Texans

Matt Schaub is ready for prime time, says Richard Justice.

Bob McNair likes the 18-game schedule, says John McClain.

Doubt is disappearing for Owen Daniels, says Justice.

A look at Arian Foster as a fantasy option, from Jim McCormick.

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts got banged up as well as routed up in Green Bay, says Mike Chappell.

The return games are still in flux. And beyond Gary Brackett and Joseph Addai, Tony Ugoh (toe), Antonio Johnson (groin) and Jacob Lacey (concussion) were hurt, says Chappell.

Chappell explains why Kevin Thomas isn’t on IR yet.

It was bad, but perspective is important, says John Oehser.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Tampa Bay is faring worse in ticket sales than Jacksonville, says Vito Stellino.

Maurice Jones-Drew says he’s just getting some rest, writes Tania Ganguli.

David Hunt looks into security costs for Jaguars’ home games.

Gene Frenette and Tania Ganguli with a video update on the Jaguars.

The days of intricately-designed running games are over, says Vic Ketchman.

David Garrard is on Doug Farrar’s list of guys who need to step it up this weekend.

Tennessee Titans

Titans training camp awards from Jim Wyatt and John Glennon.

Wyatt and Glennon looked for answers as camp wrapped.

Derrick Morgan got his first full practice of training camp on the final day.

A more mature Vince Young is ready to lead, says Pete Prisco.

Prisco’s love and hate from Nashville.

Look at photo No. 14 in this slide show and let me know what you think.

Jeff Fisher is looking for the sort of crisp play that sometimes goes missing in the third preseason game, says David Boclair.

When will Chris Johnson bust one?

Assessing the Titans halfway through the preseason with Bob McClellan.

Most Titans would be cool with being on Hard Knocks, writes Darren McFarland.

Justin Gage’s thumb injury will linger into the regular season, says Terry McCormick.

Three and Out: Jaguars

September, 1, 2009
9/01/09
9:28
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky


Three quick hits on the Jacksonville Jaguars:

1. The team has tried to put David Garrard in the best situation possible. That meant rebuilding the offensive line even as two guys returned from injuries (Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams), adding free-agent left tackle Tra Thomas and tackles with the first two picks in the draft (Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton). The Jaguars also revamped the receiving corps, bringing in Torry Holt and three draft picks. Still, so far in preseason work, the offensive line has allowed far too many hits on Garrard.

2. The Jaguars traded a 2010 second-round pick in order to draft Derek Cox in the third round. He's been banged up and has not played in a preseason game yet, but he was impressive early. Brian Williams has not had a great preseason as the second corner, so once Cox is ready he could overtake Williams and bump him to the nickel job. Will Cox, who will play Thursday against Washington, and new strong safety Sean Considine be enough to make a big difference in the secondary? Can free safety Reggie Nelson rebound from a bad second year and become the guy the team envisioned when it drafted him in the first round?

3. With an emphasis on character, new general manager Gene Smith has revamped the roster. Thirty-six players currently with the team weren't part of things last year, and guys they felt like didn't help chemistry are gone. This group is expected to be better in terms of sticking together, being accountable and staying on message no matter how things are going. Jack Del Rio won't have a chance to ease his team into things. In the first month of action the Jaguars face all three of their AFC rivals, and Tennessee, Indianapolis and Houston are all rated as playoff-caliber teams.

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